July 31, 2009

Cuban government honors del Toro

The Cuban government in Havana has honored Che star Benicio del Toro for his body of work.

The Oscar-winning, Puerto Rican actor's film credits include The Usual Suspects, Traffic and 21 Grams. His two-part epic Che, in which he portrays Argentine revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, reportedly was well-received in Cuba last year. Guevara helped Fidel Castro take control of Cuba a half-century ago.

The BBC said del Toro was presented with the inaugural Tomas Gutierrez Alea prize at a ceremony in Havana attended by Robert Duvall, James Caan and Bill Murray. Appearances by such Hollywood film stars in Cuba are rare given the long-standing U.S. trade embargo against the island nation.

Del Toro described the award, which is named after a celebrated Cuban filmmaker, as an honor.

This is a show that will never be able to be repeated, the BBC quoted del Toro as saying about the ceremony. Bill Murray singing, Robert Duvall with his flowers, James Caan sitting here next to me with (Cuban actors) Jorge Perugorria and Mirta Ibarra. It will stay in history forever.